CHARACTERS IN GAME: n/a
CHARACTER NAME: Dave Strider
CANON & HISTORY: Where doing this
CANON POINT: Game Over, immediately post-death.
When he was thirteen years old, Dave Strider was obsessed with being "cool". Raised by an inscrutable guardian bent on training Dave to face the end of the world through questionably intense means and a perceived lack of affection, Dave chose to see Bro as being mysterious or stern or aloof. The things that he didn't quite get or that made him uncomfortable about his life were simply the upper echelons of irony that Bro made into a lifestyle, and someday it'd probably all make sense and he'd be that cool, too. Three years and a lot of world-shattering revelations and quiet thinking time later, Dave's not so much obsessed with being cool (although he still makes an attempt off and on). He actually hugs Dirk (a younger alternate-universe version of his guardian) for telling him he didn't think he was cool in the way that didn't mean much, but that he thought he was cool in the "right way" (i.e. being a good person). Dave does still keep up a semi-hipster persona and doesn't like to confront shit head on but more...edge around it and sort of try to maintain his cool, and he does still have a lot of the same interests, but he's also more emotive and willing to admit he's lame. Irony and coolkid shit is less a militant way of life and more just hobbies and habits and shit he finds funny these days, which is character development - or growing up.POWERS:
While Dave has grown up and matured in many ways, he hasn't quite grown up in others. By act 7, pre-epilogue, he's a sixteen year old guy and he seems to think dicks are the pinnacle of humor and he's really fucking obsessive about apple juice. He's more mature than normal sixteen year old guys in the sense he's died a fuckton and has dealt with the end of the world and has a lot of serious issues he's still working through...but it's important to note that Dave is also going to act like a sixteen year old guy a lot of the time. He will make jokes and they will be dumb and he will think he is the funniest motherfucker in the universe even if no one else happens to agree with him on that point. As long as he's making magic happen in his own mind it works, right?
Even when being cool and disinterested was the most important thing, Dave kind of fucking sucked at it. His poker face has actually historically been pretty decent thanks to being fairly chill slash level-headed and not terribly emotive facial expression wise, but he has pretty much always been a lame nerd at heart which kind of cancels that out. In his earliest appearance, John manages to troll him about apple juice found in his closet (LITTLE MONSTERS AND PEE JUICE...), for example. While he's usually pretty even-tempered and go with the flow, when Dave finally flips his shit it's usually utterly stupid and he has to go "welp never speaking about this again". See: accidentally killing a bird stealing his game, failing to break a sword for the first time ever when it protruded from the body of his guardian and just laying there face down on the ground like a loser where he landed on the rebound, throwing a temper tantrum at jade about welsh swords, etc. "Disinterested" is also not something he always managed when talking to his friends. While Dave's always been harder to read than, say, John (although really who isn't harder to read than John), he gets excited about the dumbest shit and doesn't really hide it well. Rose even mentioning she was working on alchemizing beverages during meteorstuck got him to "omg" a bunch when she said she'd give apple juice her best shot (after he went please say aj please say aj please say aj). There's also the huge fucking example of the Mayor, who Dave honestly is waaaaaaaay too into and who Dave always excitedly talks up whenever the dude comes up in conversation. These are not the actions of a stoic coolkid, Dave Strider.
look i bring up a lot of things and then have to back track a lot of those things i bring up cause sometimes the things i bring up are ill advised to say or make people uncomfortable or make me uncomfortable its just a thing about me
Dave is also just really fucking awkward sometimes. As you may have guessed from the above quote, a lot of it is verbal awkwardness. Dave basically has no filter, and tends to engage in a sort of flow-of-consciousness commentary style conversation rather than anything else. A lot of times no one else even has to be involved, as he finds his own voice soothing and will just wander around muttering to himself at length without even really noticing he's doing it. He's done this before in text as well, simply leaving walls of red courier for his friends to come back to whenever they wander off on him mid conversation or simply don't answer at all. All the Strilondes are fairly wordy, and Dave is no exception to the rule - but unlike Rose and Dirk, he doesn't tend to stay on topic but can veer all over the place on a whim, sharing Roxy's more freestyle mode of conversation. Or if he does pick a topic to stick to, it is often a really stupid thing that derails all hints of a serious conversation, such as when (in a now-defunct timeline) Dave insisted that the white cueball Jade had was an eggy looking thing and proceeded to continuously derail her evil conversation to talk about the eggy looking thing, regardless of where she was trying to steer the conversation. He backtracks shit he says a lot about as often as he just goes ok I just said that moving the fuck on, but either way he always acknowledges this is a fault of his these days although it's not something he's even remotely trying to fix.
i had to face this fact a long time ago i could either try to change that part of myself which is an unwinnable war or i could try focusing on being like a vaguely half decent person so at least the shit i inevitably blurt out from deep down isnt all that bad
Dave Strider can be a jackass. He likes to troll people (he actually manages to get one of the trolls to block him during the whole troll-the-humans campaign because he made the guy so uncomfortable just by spouting bullshit at him) to a certain degree of just messing around with them for kicks, and he's frequently sarcastic and deadpan. He riles people up on purpose sometimes and isn't particularly apologetic about it. However, Dave also is an inherently decent dude. He admits that Karkat, for example, is fun to mess with, but says he'd never want to actually upset the guy and that there's a line. This comes across in most of his conversations - whenever someone he cares about seems to be getting genuinely seriously upset, he'll usually back off or flip to serious if he was joking around previously. He gave less of a shit about the trolls being ridiculous at the start of the game, but these days Dave tends to think about the difference between being a douche and a decent person almost all the time. He says it's probably because of Bro (who was...not a decent person) - but really, Dave has always been shown to be a decent person. He's reasonably friendly in a sort of casual way and does demonstrate concern for others a lot even though he tends to backtrack if called on it and even if he's not really the best at like...dealing with that concern or demonstrating it in a great way. Emotions are weird and Dave is not great at handling them still although he's better than he once was.
He does not believe himself to be a hero - and in fact states that his Bro ruined the concept of heroism for him - and at sixteen says he's stopped trying to live up to the standard of being one (or being a "manly man"). Even at thirteen Dave stated he wasn't a hero, and he's always been clearly uncomfortable with the concept of being put into that role. Despite the fact he's always been awkward about being put in the hero role, Dave has usually ended up accepting the responsibility. Even though he doesn't see himself as a hero, he will always without fail throw down his life for the sake of his friends. That's sort of the responsibility of time players (see: Aradia Megido) and Dave thinks the responsibility fucking sucks but he 100% always prefers to give his own life rather than those of his friends. He'd automatically assumed the responsibility for the Green Sun suicide mission because he thought it "should be him" but also because any world where his friends die rather than him is just unacceptable. A world without Rose or John or Jade or the others is just one that the alpha timeline cannot possibly allow to exist. His death in the timeline pre rewrite was Heroic, dying in a failed effort to get Jade resurrected; the death that led him to god tier was one he could have avoided had he not gone to assist Rose without a second thought. Although Dave seriously doesn't believe himself to be a hero and would argue the point if it came up, he has pretty damn heroic tendencies when left to his own devices for two seconds. However, this seems to be because he feels he has to do these things - the reluctant hero cliche he's meta'd about before.
While the man who raised him was all about being in control and in charge, Dave is very much not. He's not a leader by any stretch of the imagination and furthermore really has never wanted to be. He's always been fine with John being the defacto leader, although he struggled with not measuring up to John a lot. That was never about having a problem with John being in charge. Dave is actually generally happier in a follower sort of role when it comes to plans or missions or what have you. His time in Homestuck is generally spent running around under orders from others (usually one of his brigade of bossy overpowered ladies, one of whom is his sister) and while he puts up some token snark resistance he pretty much falls into line with a team game plan whenever one is thrown his way. He allows Terezi to guide him through his session after she wins him over with shitty gifs, despite her having just gotten an alternate John killed, and while he's not a super fan of Vriska he adheres to her plans with only a slight side derail wondering if Karkat was going to throw a fit over not being the leader any longer. While Dave always ends up accepting the responsibilities hurled at him, he frequently points out he doesn't really want them and would like to be just a Normal Guy. In charge of like. Being Dave. And hopefully nothing else.
Growing up with a man who Dave came to believe had to loathe him had a lot of effect on him - beyond the whole worrying about being a good guy and not wanting to be a hero and hating fighting (although he will always fight when he needs to) and being kind of messed up in other ways, Dave is pretty fucking insecure and is extremely clingy and attention-starved. He frequently bothers his friends for attention, and poor Rose Lalonde gets a fuckton of this on the meteor. Dave even at one point asks if he can go along with Rose on one of her dates with Kanaya, and otherwise just kind of invites himself into her vicinity and starts rambling at her. This is a thing that hasn't really changed since he was thirteen - once Dave likes someone (and it is so easy to get him to start paying attention to you, because you just have to give him some sort of vaguely positive attention and you're in, like Terezi managed) he's unlikely to ever leave them the fuck alone. He is a loquacious friendship barnacle, attached to you for life. He latches onto the idea of Roxy as a Mom fairly quickly, and after the initial awkward silence with Dirk breaks, Dave similarly seems attached to his alter-Bro, especially with a little bit of closure on the subject of his not-alter Bro.
So, now that we've established that Dave is a hilarious and talkative nexus of awkward attention-starved shenanigans and reluctant heroism, we should probably finish up with the fact that Dave Strider does actually take a lot in stride. While he frequently commentates on how bullshit his own universe and situation is, Dave is more go-with-the-flow than he isn't. He's dug his heels in on shit a few times (most notably when Jade was trying to get him to time travel for evil training) but is more often willing to kind of just cave on whatever (see: the part about being a follower) and/or deal with whatever comes his way. He's good at adapting to bullshit. Dave is actually a smart dude, but tends to apply his clever nature to sort of inane shit when he isn't using his brains to find loopholes or to get around new obstacles. He's not a scholar by trade like Rose, but instead is sort of functionally intelligent and savvy, and he uses it to roll with the punches. His ability to sort of be unphased by shit because he simply cannot work up to legitimately caring is actually ironically a trait that is kind of innately cool without a lot of real effort, but it's the part of his coolkid facade that he never really worked at a lot. While he does have his freak outs and mess ups, Dave is more often than not simply able to go "welp" and move on with his shit after saying (or rambling) his piece.
• Dave can utilize a hammerspace storage system known as a sylladex. His fetch modus is the hash map.OTHER: In terms of abilities he retains because they're not Magic? He's an excellent combatant, having been trained from basically birth to fight someday by his anime ninja older bro. Beyond the high speed stats he'll have even without flashstepping, he's just pretty good at sword fighting and is very much a combat pragmatist, going so far as to use Jade as a shield against Jack once he figured out Jack wouldn't hurt Jade.
• Dave's strife specibus is 1/2 bladekind and bladekind. This means he uses swords as his weapon of choice (and also broken swords).
• As the Knight of Time, Dave is able to manipulate the flow of time and is (according to another time player) a "powerful warrior class who uses the flow of time as a weapon". He is shown to be able to hop through time (and to be able to hop himself and EVERYONE ELSE forward through time 5000+ years, what the fuck), but in a way that he has to maintain a series of stable timeloops unless he wants to stack up a shitload of doomed Daves. Dead Daves are the enemy, man - and to explain that, any Dave that isn't part of a stable time loop (i.e. Dave at some point in the future backtracks and becomes that Dave) is fated to die because...time travel. In battle, Dave's time manipulation is shown to allow him to flashstep all over the fucking place and/or spam himself in battle (he can flashstep normally, but adding time travel to it makes it Worse) and backtrack the fuck up if one of his allies goes down, to "fix" things (shown in stellar stereo when he teams up with the Seer of Mind, who can see the best way to rewind). Another time player is shown to be able to freeze an enemy in place, and apparently time players are really fucking good at managing their time shit (if they aren't, they're p much dead), so Dave tends to have a pretty good grasp on timelines and consequences and when and where he is.
• As a god tier player, Dave is conditionally immortal. Unless his death is deemed Just or Heroic, he will simply revive. The other abilities that all god tier players receive also apply to him, and those are the ability to fly/float, and the ability to change into his god tier pajamas at will. Said pajamas are magic in the sense that they are apparently always clean even if not laundered, and they're super comfy.
• He can apparently breathe in space? Since he flies around in legitimate outer space sometimes? SO THAT'S A THING.
MAGIC ABILITY: Can turn anything he draws into a three-dimensional real thing. (For the record: Dave canonically is very bad at drawing, and his creations would adhere to his Exact Skill Level, so...oops.)
PRICE: His Ben Stiller shades. He managed to create with help a replica set on the TDM, but they are not His Shades and he would always want those back.
ACCLIMATION: 9. Dave is used to weird shit and as a "doomed dave" he doesn't really have anything to race to get back to. Rose Lalonde and John Egbert being around would help him as well. The knocked off point would be for other factors that'd set him ill at ease, and he could work around those.
LINKED SAMPLE: TDM toplevel here.